If I had to pick the best thing that happened to me in 2015, it would be my accidental discovery that I love hiking. Luckily I live in the tri-state area, where the amount of hiking that can be done is abundant to the point of being overwhelming. Out of the places we hit, none of them demonstrated the beauty and serenity of New York State and the Hudson Valley more than Sam’s Point, and we didn’t even get to the waterfall (it was pretty much dried up when we went during late fall).
The trail for Sam’s Point starts in a small town called Cragsmoor (Population: 449). It is so small, your GPS might not even find it. But the way there is dotted with adorable farmhouses such as this one.
There is a parking fee of $10, and note that the park closes at 5:00 pm sharp (as in, you will have to wait for the ranger to get back and let you out if you don’t leave by then). There are also quite a few spots to hit, so you should probably decide what to do before starting. The hike is about 5-7.5 miles, depending on what you choose to do.
We hit just Sam’s Point during one of our visits, and then went back with our friend Kim and included the Ice Caves and Lake Maratanza on our second visit. We have yet to see Verkeerder Falls, the Berry Picker Shacks, and High Point Carriageway.
A few minutes up from the start of the trail towards Sam’s Point is an initial gorgeous view. You will barely be sweating by then (or not at all if you’re in good cardio shape).
And then, a few more minutes up and to the left, there’s Sam’s Point. It’s gorgeous, and will probably leave you breathless, even if you’re not tired. Some write-ups have suggested saving this view for last, like a prize to be won after all that hiking, since the trail loops back around. I say, it depends on what time of day you want to take photos at. 😉
There’s a bit of hiking on the “loop trail” if you want to get to the fall or the ice caves. It’s a nice path, with some foliage that reminded us of Cape Cod.
|Getting ready to hit the ice caves|
It’s hard to describe how awesome it is to visit the ice caves. There are a lot of crevices and paths over and under rocks to explore, but it’s quite dark in most of these places, so we took only a few terrible shots. I wouldn’t say it’s hardcore spelunking, but if you’re moderately active and it’s not something you usually do, it’s loads of fun.
Coming up from the ice caves, there’s another fantastic view, and you’ll find groups of people relaxing here after getting through.
After soaking up the view, you can take a few more minutes of walking on the loop trail to get to Lake Maratanza. It’s worth a visit, especially if it’s hot out and you brought your dog, who needs a bit of a splash in the water.
Or you can try to take decent photos but end up with a silly one, care of your husband.
And then, just head back to the parking lot, and talk about the incredible hike you just had on your way home.